Animal rights advocates and veterinarians yesterday called for the Taoyuan City Government to draft ordinances to prevent the ownership of animal traps unless an individual has a permit, following the deaths of 14 animals in the city last year, including a crab-eating mongoose, which is a protected species.
An amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) passed 10 years ago stated that no animal traps may be manufactured, sold, displayed, imported or exported without explicit permission from the central government, the group told a news conference in the city.
However, the amendment does not say that one cannot “own” such a trap, which has led to a number of incidents involving traps.
Photo: Hsu Cho-hsun, Taipei Times
There were five incidents of animals being hurt by traps between October last year and last month in Taoyuan’s Jhongli (中壢), Sinwu (新屋), Longtan (龍潭), Houxiang (後巷) and Fusing (復興) districts, said Wu Chia-ying (吳珈瑩), a veterinarian who works with the Wild Bird Society of Taiwan.
Most of the traps were set up by farmers to prevent animals from ruining their crops, or to catch rats, but wildlife usually migrate to lower altitudes during the winter, Wu said.
The jaws of the traps are strong enough to fracture animals’ limbs, and if an injured animal is not discovered soon enough, its wounds could become infected, she said.
The survival rate of animals caught in such traps is extremely low, Wu said, adding that she had been forced to euthanize 90 percent of animals injured by foot-hold traps that she saw.
Taoyuan City Councilor Chen Jui-sheng (陳睿生) said the lack of legal restrictions against owning traps, and the absence of any punitive measures, makes it difficult for the government to enforce the law.
Chen said he is mulling proposing an ordinance to ban ownership of animal traps in the municipality.
Taoyuan Animal Protection Office Commissioner Wang Te-chi (王得吉) said he would support such a measure, as “a civilized society should not condone the use of animal traps.”
The office has set up signs warning against the use of traps and has stepped up inspection of hardware stores, Wang said.
The illegal sale of animal traps is punishable a fine of up to NT$75,000, he said.
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